Don’t Blame Hippocrates for Low Enrollment in Clinical Trials

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John D. Lantos

Tag(s): Journal article


Alex John London (2021) is frustrated by the commonly encountered situation of doctors thinking that they know what is best for their patients even as they are aware that the evidence for their preferences is thin or flawed or non-existent. He thinks that such doctors should be more willing than they are now to enroll their patients in clinical trials in order to determine which treatments are safest and most effective. London hypothesizes that such doctors’ reticence to enroll their patients in clinical trials comes from the doctors’ adherence to traditional codes of medical ethics. In particular, he focuses on the Hippocratic exhortation that a doctor must act to “benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment.”

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